Monday, December 14, 2009

I Know, I know. I Have Two Other Kids. Blah, Blah, Blah...

So I really don't have anything to blog about. I'm in a major funk lately. (I say "funk" because if I say "depression" my family worries.) You can tell from my previous post that I'm having a hard time without my dad. I really wish we could just fast forward the next few weeks...until February. Yeah...February would be nice. My birthday's the first day so let's hit the FF button and be done with the holidays and dark and dreary January!

OK, this really isn't going to be a "poor me" post. Probably more of a "Harley is so freakin' cute and here's all the cute stuff he does lately" post.

He says, "bye, hi, GEEEEZ!!!, mmm..mmm...mmm (which seriously has the tone of "don't want to"), dis (this)". There's probably more. But the one that's the funniest is GEEEEEZ!!! He says it at the appropriate times, too. Loud noise. Bump in the road. Dogs barking. Ya, it's adorable.

OH!!! He also says, "ho, ho, ho". He doesn't know who else says it but still. It's darling.

I outed Santa to him. I told him last year and this year that it's his dad and me. He'd have figured it out on Christmas morning anyway, since he's been with me when I've bought every single one of his gifts. Tavis has threatened me with....I got nothin'....if I out Santa next year.

Hey speaking of that. I have a 10 almost 11 year-old. Do you think he still believes? Last year he was on the fence about it. Had a lot of questions. This year he hasn't said a WORD about it. As if he knows but doesn't want to talk about it. I feel weird asking him what he wants Santa to bring him. I don't know why I feel weird. Even when he's a full-on "knower", I'll ask him what he wants Santa to bring him. How old were your kids when the cat got outa the bag? Avery, my 8 year-old, is still hip-deep in believing. It's so cute. I love it!

Harley's also addicted to the phone. He has to "talk" on the phone about ten times a day. During the Thanksgiving holiday he talked on anyone's phone he could get his hands on. At one point he got a "call", looked around the room, gave us a look as if we were making too much noise, and left the room. DeNae can vouch for this story. He gets my phone and punches the keys like he's texting. I have NO IDEA where he learned that from. Certainly not the obscene amounts of time I spend texting.

He literally undecorated our tree as fast as we got it decorated. The big kids would hang an ornament, he'd bring it back to me. Very helpful. So we had to make our tree look like this:

I put out less than half of my Christmas decorations because it would be an effort in futility. He and I watched Rudolph the other day and I loved it because I could recite the whole thing and he didn't yell at me to stop. In fact he liked it! I'm gonna watch Christmas Vacation with him next!

He's too tall. He can reach the top of the counters now. And bring me everything that's on them. Not that there's ever anything on my counters. They're always perfectly clean and free of clutter. Also, very helpful.

We got our first snow last week. (Finally. After it WARMED UP enough to snow!!!) He loved it! Why don't kids understand cold? He could go outside in his diaper alone and not miss a beat. Little frozen piggies and all. I got some cute pix of him in the first snow of the season. I like it right now. Talk to me in a couple weeks...oh wait! You won't have to because we're fast-forwarding, remember! YAY!

Do you ever do the thing where you start thinking, "my kids are totally getting the shaft this Christmas. I've gone through everything I've bought for them and ya, it's not much." So then you go out and buy a bumload of stuff and hit the panic button because now you're thinking, "crap, I've bought too much stuff for my kids." I knew you did. You're my kinda people!

Am I the only one who really doesn't want anything for Christmas this year? I really don't. There are plenty of things I'd like to have, sure. But I'm just not feeling like I want to spend the money on stuff just for the sake of having crap under the tree. I really and truly just want to be with my family. We're staying at my mom's on Christmas Eve. My sister Kim and her family will be there, too. This is all I need. Well, this and the rest of my siblings to be there! (I'm looking at you, DeNae.)

Alright. That's enough nonsense for one post. Are you all enjoying DeNae's salute to fudge? If you're not you MUST go over and enjoy yourself.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

I Miss You, Dad

I miss my dad. I miss him so, so much. I miss his voice. I miss his warm hands. I miss his hairy arms. And his bald head. I miss the way he would blink really fast like he was batting his eyes. I miss his blue eyes. They were just like mine. The only two in our family that got 'em. I miss the dimple in his chin. I miss the way he'd say, "hi hun" every time I talked to him. And before we'd finish a phone conversation he'd say, "love you, too" even though I hadn't said it yet. I missed being able to cheer for the Yankees with him. And I missed watching the BYU/Utah game with him. I missed his too-long, lecture-the-family-via-blessing-on-the-food at Thanksgiving. I miss his texts asking me to bring his "motorcycle" out to see him. I even miss him sneaking Mountain Dew to Hayden.

I don't understand why he was taken from me so suddenly. I still need a dad. I still need his help to get registered for college. Because that was one thing he was emphatic about. He wanted me to become a teacher. Probably more than I want it.

I hate that he's gone. I hate it so bad. I hate that I will spend the rest of my life without him. I know he's still there. I know he's aware of me. I know he's so happy where he is and that there's nowhere he'd rather be. I can't imagine how glorious heaven is but my own selfish self would rather have him here.

No comments. I just needed to cleanse my soul a bit.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Don't Eat Yellow Snow

Today on my Facebook I posted "Amber Stubbs...hates people." And it's true. They're not nice and they're irritating and I hate them.

OK, I only hate the kind of people who STIFF WAITRESSES!!!!! That's right. I got stiffed. Not once, my friends. But twice. Last night, due to an error on my part that caused ZERO inconvenience to my guests, my manager had to buy their meals. To the tune of $40. (BTW, if this had happened at Rib City I'd have had to pay the $40 and then been fired.) So instead of being grateful they got a free meal and leave a generous tip they left me nothing. NOTHING. I hate them.

Then today I had a table of three. Their ticket was $50. I should have known they were gonna be trouble when the dude asked if there was free refills on the flavored lemonade and I told him they were $.50. So he then asked if refills were free on iced tea and when I told him they were he went with that. Then the jack-a** asked if he could get an extra hamburger patty on his cheeseburger and when I told him sure, for a little extra money he went with the standard one patty.

It's always so exciting, as a waitress, to open the little black book to see what treasure lies inside. I like to wait til I'm all the way in the back before I open it. It's kinda like Christmas. Minus the gifts. And the tree. And the family. And the kids chucking their socks over their shoulder and diving in to get another gift. (Quick! What movie is that from?)

So imagine my surprise when I opened these people's little black book and found that they left me a big, fat, freaking ZERO. I hate them, too.

But that's not all. See, they only signed their credit card receipt. They didn't fill in the tip amount or the total amount. Not gonna lie...I was sooooo tempted to fill in a $20 tip and total it to $70. Not only did they not stiff me but they left me a 40% tip!!! DAMN THAT CONSCIENCE OF MINE!!!!! I couldn't bring myself to do it. I guess $20 isn't worth going to hell over. Or worth getting fired over.

I think I'd have a better chance of talking my way out of hell than finding a new job right now.

So here's a tip for you: Always fill in your tip amount and always fill in the total amount on your credit card slips. You might not get a server as scared of Satan as I am.

So, people? Tip your server. Tip her/him well if they deserve it. But for the love of all that is good and holy, please don't stiff them!!! Seriously, who does that???

People I hate. That's who.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Oh. My. Heck.

OK, so I'm about to tell you something that I KNOW you're going to have a ton of advice about but trust me, I know what I need to do about it. I just don't have the energy to deal with it right now.

Harley sleeps with us now.

It flippin' sucks. I hate it. It started probably 3 months ago when he got really, really sick. He was having way high fevers and we just put him in bed with us so we'd get some sleep. He recovered about a week later and for the next week-ish we worked on getting him back on his routine. Which we pretty much had accomplished until my dad died. Then for the next week or so we were back and forth to Tooele. Sleeping at my mom's with him in bed with us. I spent the night out there several times without Tavis, and long story short, he sleeps with us now.

So now he won't nap in his bed, either. Before, I'd put him to sleep then lay him down in his bed which was hassle enough but now if I even breathe like I'm going to stand up to take him to bed he wakes up. So I either hold him through his naps or I attempt to lay him on the couch.

As you can well imagine, by the time I've spent the entire night with him, all morning, held him for 2 hours while he naps, spent all evening with him, I'm MORE than ready for a little alone time. So I've started staying up waaaaay too late. It's the only time of day where I don't have anyone clinging to me or talking to me or climbing on me. So I'm staying up til like 2:00 in the morning!!! Not. Good. Especially when I've got to get up and get my older kids off to school by 8:30.

This whole story is not the point of this post. No, here comes the point. Last night while I was staying up too late I was sitting on the couch and at 12:15 am the entire sky lit up. Like noon-day. It lasted for about 5 seconds. I could only see out my back window but I saw the ENTIRE yard. It was literally as if the sun had been turned on.

I. Was. Terrified.

I seriously felt all the blood run out of my face and upper body. I went all cold and just froze. I didn't know what to do! Should I get up and see what's out there? What if it's something I don't want to see? So I went upstairs to my room (which also looks out over the back yard) and looked out the window. That way my tough husband could save me from whatever it was that had just lit up the night. But I saw nothing. I was kind of expecting to see a helicopter with a spotlight but, really, if it had been a spotlight there would have needed to be like 100 spotlights to make a light as bright as this one.

So I go back downstairs and ponder what I'd just seen. While I was sitting there, the windows started shaking. (By now I'm ready to pee my pants.) I'm not a huge believer in UFO's but I'm also not an un-believer. I have no reason to doubt there are life forms out there other than ours. Then I thought maybe a transformer blew. But my power was still on and so was my neighbor's. So I post it on my facebook. Ask what the crap was that thing???

And this morning I found out. It was a meteor! I didn't know we were supposed to be having a meteor shower but apparently a lot of people did. How cool is that??? I actually got to see it! Stuff like that never happens to me! I always miss the cool stuff.

So I'm going to try to post the story on here but I'm not holding my breath on it working so go here and you can see the 2 minute and 50 second story.

Very cool.

Monday, November 16, 2009

She Came Back to Bite Me

So I got to work on Saturday and not long after I got there one of the girls I work with spilled a drink on a customer. It made such a mess that they had to move to a different table. Now, I don't really love this girl. She's kinda b*tchy. So naturally, I thoroughly enjoyed her misfortune. When my friend, D'Laina, got there a couple hours later I told her the humorous story.

"Haha, Lame Girl spilled a drink all over her table and they had to move. Haha..."

Remember my last day of training? Well the table I was headed to that night was table 7. And on Saturday I was given table 7 for the first time since that fateful day.

As I walked toward my table of four I was remembering the day I slipped and dropped all the drinks all over the place and how bad that sucked and how bad it would suck to do that again. I got to table 7 and began distributing their drinks. As I was setting down the second to last drink I literally thought to myself, "I wonder how this guy feels about a drink in his lap". Seriously. I really did think that. I don't know why I thought that. I just did. So I leaned across the table to set down the second to last drink and in so doing, I tipped over the last drink on the tray. It went all over the guy!!! I'm not kidding! Why would I have been thinking that? And then it happened!! Of course we all freaked out. He jumped up with water in his lap.

D'Laina came up to me and said, "really, Amber? And after you were just making fun of Lame Girl."

She helped me clean the guy up. One of the bussers helped, too. The guy was way cool about it. Kept telling me not to worry about it when I apologized 9 million times. D'Laina said that when I walked away his wife asked if he was OK and he said, "ya I'm fine but my balls are frozen."

Ba ha ha ha!!!!! Oh my heck, that's funny!

So the moral of this story is this: Karma--she's a b-word. Trust me. I work with her.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Eee Eye Eee Eye Ohh

When I first started at Outback one of the girls that trained me was telling another girl something that went like this: "I was so tired when I got home last night all I could do was harvest my crops and go to bed."

I was floored! This girl sooooo is not the farming type! So I said, "holy crap! Where do you live???" I knew she lived with her sister and sister's family somewhere near me. Don't get me wrong, there are farms around me. But this girl?

She then informed me that she was talking about Farmville on Facebook. And the second she said "Farmville" EVERYONE started talking about it. Talking about their strawberries and eggplants and cows and someone sent someone else an elephant (something no farm should be without) but they didn't really have room for it so they just built a pen and put the elephant in it. These people were literally speaking a foreign language. But it was only foreign to me. Everyone else knew what they were talking about.

So my friend D'Laina asked me if I farmed and the look on my face must have indicated that I didn't so she said she'd "neighbor" me. You see, you want neighbors. You need neighbors in order to expand your farm. Plus, everyday you can go to your neighbor's farms and help them do things like pull weeds, rake leaves, scare away raccoons or foxes, get rid of gophers and then you can fertilize some of their crops. All of these good deeds gets you coins and you want coins to buy more crops or tractors or make your farm bigger. You can buy houses and barns and butter churns and ponds and yes, elephants. The list goes on and on and on.

So of course at first I was all aboard the "mocking train". This was the most ridiculous thing I'd ever heard of! You buy crops, wait a certain amount of time depending on the crop (four hours for strawberries, three days for cotton) and when they're fully grown you harvest. When you harvest it makes you more money. Typically, the longer you have to wait to harvest, the better the return. And as you plant and harvest you earn "experience points". These points advance you to the next level opening up a whole new set of things for you to plant or buy or give as gifts. You can even buy a hot air balloon.

One day Harley was wanting to see the "bird" on Tavis's computer. So Tav told him to wait a minute and he'd pull it up for him. I asked what bird he was talking about and he said he has a duck on his farm that Harley likes to look at.

Again, floored!!! My husband is Farmvilling!!! Of course I spent a few days mocking him. Then I reluctantly joined him. I've found my new addiction. Forget blogging. Forget solitaire. This is what I live for now. I get so excited when I log on to FB and see I have new gifts waiting for me or even better? A new neighbor request. That's better than Christmas! (Especially since we'll be so poor this Christmas, that FV gifts will be the only gifts we'll be getting. Hope the kids don't mind getting a virtual bird bath.)

So as if blogging wasn't enough, I've entered another popularity contest. First you have to have a fair number of FB friends. Only because those friends then need to be your neighbors. Tavis knows first hand how this contest works. He's not huge into FB so he doesn't have a ton of "friends". And of those non-tons of friends only a handful of them farm. So he's got tons of money but not enough neighbors to make his farm bigger. I have enough neighbors but not enough money. (Story of my freakin' life, I tell ya.) Although, make no mistake, "if this was the real world of farming, he'd have all us us whipped!!!"

So, MB, when you ask me, "harvest your crops, wth???" Now you know. If you don't Farmville you really should. It's tons of fun. And if you do, you really need to neighbor me. And if you're not my FB friend then you need to remedy that, too. Although as I type this I'm thinking of the 10-12 people who comment here and I'm pretty sure I'm FB friends with all of you.

Oh! Gotta go! I've got bell peppers that are THIS CLOSE to being ready to harvest and I don't want them to wither!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Mr. Quirkster

Do you have any quirks? Things that you do that make you just a tiny bit OCD? I only have one. Maybe two. The first is that every night when I go to bed I have to fix my pillows. I sleep with three. Two I lay on and one I hug. I have to fluff them up and make sure the opening of the pillow case is facing the outside of the bed. Then I stack them up. And I lay on all of them. I lay there on my back for a few minutes then I turn on my right side, grab my hugging pillow (which was on top of the pile, of course)and drift off to night-night. This happens every night.

The other is that I'm really disorganized. My house isn't always clean. Well, it's not always tidy. It's clean. Toilets are clean. Clothes are clean. People are clean. But it's usually cluttered. I'd like to blame it on my 1 year-old but really? It's always been this way. So, my quirk. When I do laundry I have to hang Avery's clothes on only pink and white hangers. Hayden's go on red, dark blue or green hangers. Harley's go on light blue hangers. And you must not deviate. I came downstairs one night while Tavis was (miracle) hanging clothes and I very nicely said, "actually, Harley's clothes go on these light blue hangers". Well he freaked! "You should be grateful you're getting any help at all!!!" And he was right but still, I'd rather do it myself than look at Avery's shirt hanging on a green hanger.

So why am I asking you about your quirks? Because I met a woman a while ago that was so damn weird that I just have to share this with you.

I went to a Relief Society get-together. It was "cookies on the lawn". Basically, bring cookies, sit in a circle with a bunch of women, eat cookies, gab.

So this woman arrives and she's got a plastic baggie on her right hand. On her other hand is a Wal-Mart sack and hanging off that arm is another Wal-Mart sack (kinda like a purse). And inside that Wal-Mart sack is another Wal-Mart sack and a cel phone. Well of course she sits right next to me. (I purposely didn't sit by my friend so I could meet other people, which left an empty seat next to me.) People, the smell coming off this woman was unlike anything I've ever smelled in my life. It was thick. It got in my lungs and just about choked me. It jumped into my nose and clung there as if it was afraid it would be forced to live with her again. At this point I grabbed my freshly washed hair and smelled it for the remainder of the night.

So I asked a friend who was on my other side, "what the crap is up with the bags?" This woman is in the RS presidency so I figured she'd have some dirt on her. (Pun?) She said she was new and had OCD. YA THINK????? I asked her, "does part of her OCD include an aversion to WATER?????"

So I told her, "make no mistake, I'll be getting to the bottom of these bags before the night is over. Because I'm just bold enough to say, 'what's with the bags?'"

Well the night progressed and one gal in the RS presidency said that she wanted to go around the circle and introduce ourselves, mostly because not everyone knew me. (I hadn't been good at going to church or these gatherings) So the first woman goes. "Hi, I'm Blah Blah* and I live down there...we've got the yard with all the trees in it...we've been trimming them...etc."

So like five more people go then it's my turn then it's Bag Lady. She says, "hi my name is BagLady* (yes, one word) (and without even taking a breath she continues) and I had that same thing happen to me with the trees like you were talking about. I was outside with my daughter and right when we came in a branch broke off our tree right where we'd been standing."

Wow. That was a mouthful. It was almost like she'd been ready to BURST waiting for all these other women to go so she could tell that story. So I ask, "is your last name Lady?"

BL: "No."
Me: (.........okaaaaaay.....)
BL: "Just BagLady. Bag if you're in a hurry. BagLady if you've got a little extra time."
Me: (......okaaaaaaay......)

So on we go around the circle and BagLady has a freakin' anecdote (DeNae, is that the right spelling for that word?) for every single thing people say! You'd think that someone with this apparent social disorder would be a little more reserved but NO!!! She yapped through the whole go-in-the-circle thing!

Finally it's cookie time. She walks over to the table which was right next to Blah Blah who asks her, "so...what's with the bags?"

Me: (Booo-yaah! Now I don't have to ask!!!)

BL: "Oh...I'm just crazy."
BB: "No you're not. What is it?"

So then she comes and sits back next to me and proceeds to tell the other gal all about her condition. She went through a major chemical change during the birth of her youngest child. TWENTY-ONE years ago. She said she was genetically pre-disposed to mental illness because her grandmother had basically gone crazy when her grandfather died. See? This is where the story stops being funny. Because I really don't want to make fun of a real illness. Clearly, she's sick. And the saddest part about it is that she knows she's sick. She's got like 5 kids. I wonder what they think about it? How do you watch your mom go through this? How do you not say, "mom, what's with the bags?"

But the question I have is: Is a Wal-Mart sack really cleaner than just, y'know, washing your hands?

So tell me. What are your quirks? Are you "just a quirk or two away from full-on dementia"? (That's one of my favorite lines from Seinfeld. Elaine to Jerry)

*Names have been changed to protect the clinically insane.

Friday, October 16, 2009

My Life These Days

Oh hi!!! How's it goin'? I know. I know. I've been so lame at blogging lately. My baby makes it pretty much impossible to do anything computer related these days. He has to be in on everything! Right now, though, he's downstairs with Hayden and Avery playing with them. I love that he's old enough to hang out with them but he's still little enough that they don't mind having him around! They're just as entertained by him as Tavis and I are.

So Harley walks now! Not a minute too soon. My older kids didn't walk til they were 15 months but Harley waited til he was 16 months! I'm so glad he's walking. I hated that his hands were always dirty and that I couldn't set him down in public because he'd crawl around all over the Swine Flu infested floors!!!

And he's talking a little. He says ball, bite, dee (drink), bird, brrr (when it's something cold), hot (for y' stuff) (and even when the oven isn't hot he still says it's hot. So cute!) and then he says, "dah" like 973 million times a day. I have NO IDEA what he's saying. He says it for everything other than the above mentioned words. It. Makes. Me. Crazy. And it's not just "dah". It's "dah?????". Everything he says is a question. (That part actually doesn't make me crazy. It's pretty cute.)

And one more fun little development for Harley is that he's decided to be done sleeping in his crib. Ya...he'll just go ahead and sleep with us now. He's always been a way light sleeper. His whole life. And we've always had to put him to sleep and then put him to bed but he's always stayed asleep while we laid him down. Not anymore. Now he wakes up right when we stand up and he FREAKS when we lay him in his bed. I had to make him cry for TWO HOURS the other day. I know we have to just let him cry and it'll be a rough week or so but I just don't have the energy to fight the fight right now.

So I laid down to take a nap the other day and woke up with pink eye. What the crap??? Ya, in like an hour I developed freakin' eye guts. I went to the urgent care and was so paranoid about getting Swine Flu I almost sent myself into hysterics!

Now Avery and Hayden have pink eye. Oops.

Girls' Weekend was so much fun! It meant a lot for us all to be together. We laughed our butts off and cried and got waxed (not our butts). We ate and hot-tubbed and ate. We rode the Alpine Slide or just stayed on the ski lift and went up and down the mountain. I really can't think of anyone I'd rather be with than my sisters and mom. We have such an incredible bond. I love those women so much.

I love my job.

I'm loving the new fall line-up of TV shows. I realize this just makes me sound really lazy but I am so that works out. My DVR is filling up and I LOVE IT!!! What's your favorite TV show? Have you guys seen the show "Community"? Or "Glee"? So. Freaking. Funny. Of course "The Office" is always a crowd pleaser. Anyway, I love TV.

I miss my dad.

I hate my dogs. Seriously. I'm so sick of them. I have a Yorkie and a mutt of a Schnauzer/Terrier mix. They bark. At everything. And their bark is enough to send me into homicidal rage. It's so embarrassing to have someone come to the door and have my dogs FREAK OUT and then run out the door the second I open it and jump on the person at the door. I don't mind that they bark when they hear noises outside. Especially at night. But I just want them to SHUT UP when I tell them to! And as if waking my baby with their bark wasn't bad enough now the Yorkie (Fluffy) (Hayden named her. Yes, I know it's a cat's name.) is in heat and the mutt (Rocky) was fixed as an infant TEN YEARS AGO but he still insists on grossing me out by trying to "get some" from her! Dude, you're just embarrassing yourself.

I guess that's about it for now. I'm sorry for being MIA on your blogs lately. Like I said, Harley makes it near impossible for me to get any blogging done. I'm gonna go stop by a few blogs right now though!!

Peace out, y'all!

Monday, October 5, 2009

So Sweet!

Remember the post I did just hours before my world stopped turning? It was the one about my re-baptism and I told you I'd be posting pictures of the most adorable thing EVER!!! Well, here you go!!

My sister-in-law, Alison and I went to the zoo on the 12th of September and we saw that darling baby elephant. She is so freakin' CUTE!! And playful. And fun. There was a time when she was trying to figure out what that long thing at the end of her face was and what she was supposed to do with it. At one time she wrapped her trunk around her foot and actually stepped on it!
We also saw baby tigers and the baby giraffe. Everything is cuter when it's in baby-form! Even mayonnaise jars.

Here's two of the cutest human babies looking at the baby elephant.

You can't really tell the tigers are babies until you see them next to their mama. It really was a fun day.

I'll be back on the blogging wagon soon. Thank you so, so, so much for all of your well-wishes. I just can't tell you enough how much each and every one of you means to me. Whether it's a random text or email telling me you're thinking of me or it's a potted plant or a lunch or a dinner or a visit, it has all been so appreciated. This is definitely the hardest thing I've ever been through. I'd take cancer over this any day. Not an hour goes by that I don't miss my dad. Not a day goes by that I don't cry at least once. The light inside of me has most certainly gone out. But I really do know that it will be lit again.

Girls' Weekend is in THREE DAYS!!!!! Yeeeee-Haaaaaw!!!!! I'm so excited I can hardly stand it. We're gong to Park City this year. And this is the first year our sisters-in-law are coming, so yay!! (They've always been invited, just haven't been able to make it.) Although our dad hasn't ever been at a Girls' Weekend, I think it'll mean more this year. The desire to be together is stronger than it's ever been. I look forward to laughing and playing with the women in my family.

Thanks, again, to all of you!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Oh, How I'll Miss Him

DeNae did a post about our dad on her blog, too. Please go read it as well.

Of course we all know this day will come. There's just never enough time to prepare. No amount of warning will make it feel better. I'd love to tell you what a great man my father was. And I will. But not today. I'm so, so, so sad. I miss him so badly already. I wasn't done with him. I still needed my dad.

I will forever be grateful that I was able to give him what he wanted most from me. The words of my bishop have been running through my mind since last night.

"without question that this is the time for you to be re-baptized. I'm not sure why it's now, but I received revelation that the Lord needs you back now. That NOW is the time for you. I know that in time it will be revealed to us just how important the timing of this is, but for now I just know that it's not by accident that you've chosen now to come back."

That's what my dad wanted from me the most. When he showed me the piece of paper with my name and a blank line next to it and told me he wanted that line filled in before he died, I made up my mind to make it so.

I love you , My Daddy. I miss you so much it hurts.

My dad and Harley on Father's Day 2009

My dad and Harley when Harley was 2 days old.
My dad's last Christmas with Avery and my nephew, Tanner

My dad was the only one from my family that could come to Harley's first birthday party.
Family was the most important thing to my dad. He loved us so much and no father was more loved than our dad.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Spiritual Sunday

Here is the unedited version of my guest post on MMB. It's kinda long so feel free to skim or just "mark as read" and move on.

Have a great Sunday!! (And stay tuned for pictures of the CUTEST thing you've ever seen!!!)

I have been so blessed to have been born and raised in the Gospel. What a gift it was to have been sent to parents whose testimonies had already been set in stone. Their faith has always been unfaltering. I went to Primary every Sunday. I was baptized when I was 8. I went to Young Women's every week and I LOVED it. As I look at the youth of today (and even some of my sisters) I realize that the experience I had in the Youth program was quite rare. I lived for activities night. I counted the minutes til girls camp. And cried for a week after it was over. I loved my leaders. I loved my bishoprics. All (and I do mean ALL) of my friends were in my ward and I really, truly liked going to church. I wasn't a rebellious teenager. How could I be? I was diagnosed with cancer a month before I turned 17 and started my first treatment the day after my birthday. I had to be home-schooled for 3 months. I missed out on the dance team that I'd worked so hard to make and I was sick during the try-outs for my senior year. I only saw my friends at church and even then it was different. They didn't know how to act around me. So my parents became my best friends. It was their friendship that got me through that time of my life. And it was during that time that I gained my own set-in-stone testimony. I had a closer relationship with my Father in Heaven during that time than I've ever had. Up to and including now.

Two years after I was declared to be in remission, I relapsed. I was a year out of high school and had a steady boyfriend. We'd moved from my home "town" (more of a city than a town) to a new, literal, town. The odds were very much against my survival this time. This time I was FILLED with cancer. This time I was so incredibly sick. But this time I had my own testimony to draw upon. Don't get me wrong. My parents' faith was still going to get me through but now we were all armed with it. And after an amazing blessing from my former bishop (and another former bishop who died of cancer a year later), I started the 7 months of chemotherapy knowing I'd beat this cancer again.

And I did.

I finished my treatments three years to the day after I was diagnosed the very first time. I was now almost twenty. I'd had cancer twice. (It was Hodgkin's Disease, by the way. I don't think I said that yet.) Looking back, it's almost as if I opened my eyes on the day I was no longer a teenager and really began my life. My boyfriend and I had broken up the day before my birthday. I was cancer free. I was living in a new place. My dad was about to be my bishop. My mom and I were best friends. It was a great time in my life.

I met and married my first husband. We were married in the temple. We had two kids. We were best friends. Life really was good.

So why am I telling you all of this? I want to show just how BLESSED I have been. How much I've been given in my life. I don't think that what happened next can be understood unless you understand all I'd been blessed with. Because seven years after I got married (eight years after I "opened my eyes") I chose to give it all up. I chose to say, "thank you, Heavenly Father, for all You've done for me. For my good health, my beautiful babies, my really nice husband. But I'm going to take a pass for now."

My husband and I split up. I went on a path for the next several months that was in the complete opposite direction as the path I'd been on my whole life. I went from one end of the "spiritual spectrum" to the exact other end.

My actions led me to a disciplinary court. Where it was explained to me that if I were to change my ways, right then; recommit myself to the Lord then I would be able to keep my membership. I know the church doesn't like to excommunicate people. I know the Lord works in ways of love, not punishment. But I made the decision to throw it all away.

I was surprised at how much it really did affect me. At that point in my life I really thought I didn't need the Lord. I didn't need the church. I was "happy". But as I walked home from the church I cried and cried.

I had already felt the absence of the Holy Ghost. I wasn't as patient with my kids as I had once been. I was glad to have them be with their dad because I knew he was a much better parent for them than I was. Things weren't going well at my job. I was angry and hostile to my ex-husband when, really, he hadn't done anything wrong. But having it be official. Having the bishop tell me I was excommunicated just rocked me.

I went on with my life. I continued down that path for a time. But that eventually got old. I was ready to settle down again. I'd already changed my ways with my kids. I was back to being the kind of mom they needed. I had a new and much better job. I still was completely inactive but in my heart I still believed.

I met Tavis and married him 9 months later. He's the love of my life. We got married in May, 2006 and that following Thanksgiving, my dad had a heart attack. He didn't die but it shook me. A month or so after his heart attack he came to me and showed me a piece of paper. It was a list of all of his kids with our birthdates, date of sealing for my oldest sister, and our baptism dates. But next to my name it was blank. Blank. I was a blank line! He told me he wanted, more than anything, for that line to be filled in before he died.

Well, absolutely. Who knew how much time he had left? The chances of another heart attack after a first are really good. So I decided it was time. After several meetings with my bishop we got it figured out that I could be re-baptized. And the only thing it was really going to require of me was that I, y'know, go to church. Everything else in my life was back within the Gospel standards. We decided it would be the same day my 8 year old daughter was baptized. But an hour before hers as not to take anything away from her special day.

Boy did the adversary work on me! Tavis and I fought more than we ever had. I didn't want to go to church. It was so easy to find reasons not to go. But I knew why I was having those feelings. And I did my best to ignore them.

At my disciplinary council the bishopric took a long time to deliberate. Longer than I thought should be necessary, frankly. I knew I was ready. Why were they having such a hard time figuring it out?

My bishop came out of his office and told me he'd forgotten to give me the baptismal interview. (I'm not kidding.) After the interview he was quiet. He finally said, "do you think we're rushing this?"

My heart sank. I couldn't believe he was saying this. I had enough faith, though, to know that if he wasn't getting the confirmation he needed from the Lord then I'd just have to wait.

But I this is what I told him:"The only thing we're rushing is the paper-work. (Because of my wanting to do it the same day as my daughter.) During the last five years my life has gone down every possible road. But my faith, my testimony, has never faltered. I've never stopped believing in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Not one time. I most certainly stopped living it, but I never stopped loving it. My faith is not being rushed. My readiness is not being rushed. All that's being rushed is getting it down on paper."

So he went back in with his counselors and they deliberated again. He called me back in and delivered the most poignant speech I'd ever been given. He said, "Thank you for giving the Spirit time to work. I went from being unsure about your readiness to knowing without question that this is the time for you to be re-baptized. I'm not sure why it's now, but I received revelation that the Lord needs you back now. That NOW is the time for you. I know that in time it will be revealed to us just how important the timing of this is, but for now I just know that it's not by accident that you've chosen now to come back."

Wow. I was speechless.

Which was OK because one of the counselors had this to add, "First, I want to thank you for your courage. It can't have been easy to come and meet with four men you barely know (this was the first time I'd even laid eyes on this man), and put your faith in us. So, thank you. Next, I want to tell you that I've got a general testimony that God loves everyone. But tonight I received a testimony that God loves you. And I'm so thankful to have been in on this council so that I could gain that testimony."

So I was baptized the following Saturday. My dad baptized me when I was 8 and he baptized and confirmed me again. People kept asking if I was so excited??? And the correct answer, of course, was YES!!! But really? No. Because I didn't feel like anything was going to change. All it was was a piece of paper. But as was pointed out to me by a friend, the commitment would be stronger. And she was right. I was wrong to have down-played it so much. I didn't want a big thing. Your first baptism is something to celebrate, not your second. But when the day came, I was truly EXCITED!!! (And not just because my sisters had come from out of town to be there!) I came out of the water feeling a lot like I did on my 20th birthday. My life was really going to begin. Again.

I've got a beautiful baby boy, now. And what I want next is to be sealed to him. But for now, I'll bask in the peace that having the Holy Ghost back in my life has given me. I'll never take that peace for granted again. I'll never let my Heavenly Father down again. My faith is renewed. My commitment is stronger than ever. And my life is right where I want it to be!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

First Day of School Pictures...Two Weeks Late

Hayden and Avery

Hayden, 5th grade

Avery, 3rd grade
Going to school in the buggy
Believe it or not...he really is smiling.
Tavis took the kids to school in the buggy.
Harley on the first day of school.

I thought it was way cute and fun for Tavis to take the kids to school in the bug on the first day. My sister, Jill, had this to say about their ride, "Lucky!!! Gosh all I ever had was the station wagon and praying it wouldn't die in front of the school. Oh wait, that was jr. high. We walked our sorry butts to elementary, up hill both ways, in the snow with bread bags over our socks to avoid them being soaked by the time we got there...true story. Most of it."

I'm pretty sure the bread bags part is TRUE!!! DeNae can verify that but I actually remember wearing bread bags or was it a lunch sack over my head?

So far school is fine. I really freakin' hate school. I hated it when I was in it and I hate it when my kids are in it. I hate doing homework with them. I hate getting up early. I hate feeling guilty when I've sent them to school with barely even a Pop-Tart in their belly. I hate bed time. I hate it all. Mostly I hate that it means summer is over and it's going to get cold soon. Even though Autumn is one of my most favorite times of the year. The mountains are absolutely gorgeous in the fall. I love Halloween. I love Candy Corns. I love the fall colors. I love that Girls' Weekend is coming up. I love the new fall line-up of TV shows. In my perfect world we'd go from Halloween to February 1st (my birthday) to Easter over night. Or over two nights. I could seriously do without all the other stuff in between. And by "stuff" I mean "snow". Ugh...I've got to stop thinking about it before I have a panic attack!

Happy Weekend Eve!!!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

And For My Next Act...Episode Two

Hellllllooooo!!!!! Betcha thought I burned my old job to the ground and went into hiding, huh? Nope. I'm not a vindictive person. I am, however, a huge believer of karma and I'm sure that what goes around will come around. The best revenge is living well, right? (What a load of crap.)

So I started at Outback. It's really been stressful! The menu's so much bigger than Rib City's. And there's so much to know with all the steaks, cuts, sizes, temps, etc. Some meals come with already decided sides, some come with the customer's choice of side dish. UGH!!! It's so much to remember!

I took my server test today and passed so at least that's over with. And today was my first day all by myself and I only had 2 tables and still managed to screw up one of them. I just forgot to put in their order. What?? Is that bad? They were really nice about it, though. I told 'em I was new and they were very cool.

So here's a fun little story for ya! First, let me paint a picture for you: On one side of the restaurant there's five tables that seat six people. Then across the aisle is a long bench with three or four tables with chairs on the other side and the tables can be pushed together for big parties. All of these tables were full. All of them.

On Thursday night it was my last night of training before I was on my own (today). Which basically meant I was doing everything and my trainer was just there to make sure I didn't screw up. So I go to a table of 5 and tell them I'm brand new, blah, blah, blah. Took their drink orders and went back to get their drinks. On my way back to the table (in the dining room) there was a puddle of water...I slipped and FELL DOWN!!!!! All the way down! And spilled the drinks all over the place!!! All over me. All over the floor. And on one of the girls I was taking the drinks to! I. Could. Have. Died.

Of course everyone was all "are you OK??" I just wanted to tell them to SHUT UP!!! DON'T TALK TO ME!!! You know how it is? You just want people to not talk and you'll be fine. So I go in the back and people start telling me they'd done the exact same thing. One girl dropped a whole tray of steak and lobster so at least it was cheap drinks I spilled but holy crap!!! Just freakin' kill me, please! So again, people keep asking if I'm OK. Which I was, so SHUT THE HELL UP!!! If I'm not dead, I'm fine. So of course...I get all weepy. Like a stupid girl. I wasn't hurt at all. The fall seemed to go in slow motion so I was fine. I went in the bathroom and my friend got me a new shirt and I cried. Not like full blown tears but, y'know, just weepy. I texted Tavis and told him I'd just eaten sh*t and spilled a whole tray of drinks. He laughed. 'Cause it really is FUNNY!!!!

I collected what very, very little dignity I had left and went back out to my table. (My trainer had, of course, taken over by now.) I asked if they liked the circus act and they asked what my encore was going to be. We laughed and all was well.

Can you even believe it?? People, I just wanted to put my head in the ground and DIE!!! (Have you seen Madagascar 2?) I never had that even come close to happening at Rib City and then it occurred to me why...the dining room is carpeted there. At Outback it's hard wood.

So after that, things could only improve. Remember this? I would take that with a side of me being buck naked compared to this. At least now I don't have to worry about the first time I fall/spill a bumload of drinks! And I also finally have an answer to the question, "what's your most embarrassing moment?" Although I really could have gone my whole life without an answer to that.

Things have been crazy-busy around here. Tavis is back to work (YAY!!!), Harley's been sooooooo sick (more about that on another post), school has started, I've been hip-deep in new job/training/studying for the server test, family in town (YAY!!!). So I'll be better at blogging soon. Having Harley be sick has pretty much kicked mine and Tav's butts. He's been way clingy and needing to be held. He doesn't sleep worth a crap right now. As soon as he's better I'll be back on the blogging horse! Until then, I'll be trying to keep the shiny-side-up at work!!!

Monday, August 10, 2009

I Did It

Rib City Grill has screwed me for the last time. I walked out on my shift tonight. I start working at Outback next week!!! I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am! My good friend D'laina got me the job there. I will forever be in her debt!

Thanks for "listening" to me whine about all the crap. I'm so relieved to be done. I'll for sure miss the girls I worked with. And the yummy ribs. But I'm sure I'll love the ribs at Outback even more. (Especially since they won't be served up with a side of BULL CRAP!!!) So everyone needs to come see me there! It's the one in Orem.

Yaaaaaaaay ME!!!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Random Crap

My children are freakin' exhibitionists. They cannot potty or shower or bathe with the door closed. I'm sure their habits formed when it was just the three of us in our little apartment during the time I was divorced. Any mom knows that when you have little ones, shutting the door to potty isn't a reality. I find myself leaving it open now when it's just Harley and me at home. I should change my ways right now.

So I was at the E Center the other night working in the Rib City concessions stand and I needed to go...number 2. Now, like pretty much every female I know, this is a home-seater event. But as I was far from home, I was going to have to do this in the public restroom. So i go in there and there's easily 20 stalls along one wall and then another 5 or so across the aisle. So I put myself in the far corner, very end stall to ensure the most privacy. Let me also point out that this restroom was at the end of a very long hall and was getting very little traffic. So I sit myself down and prepare to...y'know...go. Not one minute into it did someone come in and sit RIGHT NEXT TO ME!!! "What the crap??" (No pun intended.) (Yes, it was.), I think to myself. "This woman has the ENTIRE restroom to choose from and she has to sit right by me when I'm doing this." Duh!!!

Do you have any "blog friends" that you've never met but you really want to meet because you're certain you'd be great friends? And you sometimes daydream about having her live next to you, so your kids could play and you and she could hang out and laugh because you just KNOW you've got the same personalities and the same sense of humor and you really don't have any friends that live by you that you can just totally be yourself with but you KNOW you could be with this friend? Ya, me neither.

My baby isn't really a baby anymore. I mean, he is. But he doesn't have that baby look anymore. He doesn't walk yet and for the past month I've just been ready for him to walk. He gets everywhere he wants to go, anyway. I'd just like him to walk there! Well, now I'm thinking I'll be sad when he walks. That's a huge milestone for a baby! Toddlers walk. Not babies. (Except my nephew, who walked at 7 1/2 months.) And since I'm not having anymore babies (it's true, mom), it kinda makes me sad to think about my last baby taking his first steps.

School starts in less than two weeks. I go into almost complete hysterics when I think about this. Here in Utah we got hugely ripped off during June because it rained the whole freakin' month. Then we have a bumload of holidays in July which makes it go by fast and now school is about to start. I pretty much have a panic attack when I think of getting up early and getting the kids ready for school. Doing breakfast and homework and bedtime. Ugh. I've got to stop thinking about it.

I was all by myself last Saturday (bliss!) so I went to see Harry Potter (shut up). They turn you loose with the butter for the popcorn. They've got a dispenser and you can just load your popcorn up! So I had her fill it up half way with popcorn, then I buttered, then had her fill the rest of the bag with popcorn, then I buttered some more. Well, guess what? The movie theater owes me a new pair of shorts because I got butter all over mine. They should know better than to leave me to my own devices when it comes to movie-theater popcorn and butter.

Ever since I discovered how to update my facebook profile status via text message, I've become really narcissistic. Like every move I make I feel like I want to fb it! As if anyone gives a damn! "Amber is...going to change the laundry." "Amber is...gonna have a Pepsi." "Amber is...the most self absorbed person ever to walk the earth." These thoughts run through my brain All. Day. Long.

I need new jeans.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

OK, Here's What Happened...

First, thank you so much for all of your input! You guys are so freakin' awesome. Not even kidding. I love you all!!!! For a lot of you, this will be just the same as the email I sent you after your comment. But I lost track of who I sent it to and who I didn't so here it is. Thanks again!!!

Next, I know. I know. I know. I need to find a new job.

Tuesday night I was helping my table doing exactly what I described on the post. There were two other servers on and a manager. I looked around when the phone rang and saw no one was going to answer it. But it's not my job to get the phone. It's the manager's. Who is CONSTANTLY in the back of the joint smoking. (Or lately, he's decided that smoking in FRONT of the place is much more classy and will attract more customers) And last night he was back there smoking AND on his cel phone to his son.

Well, I'm with most of you. (I'm looking at you, Sher) People that have taken the time to get in their car and leave their home to come to eat dinner take priority over any yahoo on their couch, at home, on the phone. So I didn't run to get the phone. After I finished with my table the phone was still ringing (going on 5 or 6 rings) so I went and answered it. (Knowing that if it was "T",the owner, she'd be mad that it had rung so many times.)

Of course, it's her.

T: What's going on?!?! Are you guys busy? What are you doing?
Me: I was talking to my table. J was talking to her table. K was in the back and I guess John's outside smoking.
T: Well this phone needs to be answered in 3 rings!
Me: Ya, I know but I was talking to my table.
T: Well, you need to excuse yourself and answer the phone!!! If it's a to-go order and the phone rings too many times they'll thing we're closed.
Me: (In a very non-snotty tone of voice. For real.) So you want us to leave our table and answer the phone?
T: YES!!! That's what the lunch people do! Have John call me.


So after about ten minutes John comes back in and I tell him to call T. A few minutes after he gets off the phone with her and I say, "well I guess I got us all in trouble by letting the phone ring too many times".
John: Ya, I don't know what you said to her but she's so mad at you. She's really really mad. She told me to cut you and send you home.
Me: Really? OK.

(So I guess I'd have been better off to not have answered the phone at all. Because I took all the heat for it!! And am I the only one who picked up on the fact that I DID answer the phone??? ME. I'm the one who ran over and got it the very first free second I had. And I got my a** chewed for it.)

He goes on to make excuses that his son only ever calls like once a week and he's got like two (more like 30) minutes to talk to him and he should have been able to talk to him and have things get taken care of inside. Well, yes. That's true. But we didn't know he was outside. Furthermore, it's not like we were pickin' our noses!! It's so ridiculous there. It sucks to work at a place where you don't feel like your superiors are ever on your side. Or on the side of their customers. They only care about the bottom line. They have NO loyalties to their staff. They closed their store in Sandy and didn't tell any of the employees. They came to work the next day and found a note on the door. People's paychecks are bouncing and T won't return their phone calls.

We are the ones keeping that place in business. The servers. You could have the best food on earth but if the service sucks, nobody will go back. Likewise, you could have semi-good food and great severs and get people to come back again and again. There isn't a shift that goes by that I don't have at least one table tell me I "did great." "You're so much fun!" "What's your name? We want you when we come back!" I get at least one of these comments every time I work.

So yes, I need a new job. I don't work tomorrow and I'm taking the day to go apply at every restaurant in town. And when I leave I'll let them all know that I'm so sick of the management screwing up and making me take the heat for it. And I also realize that the longer I stay there and complain about it the dumber I look. So I promise this is the last rant I do about my job.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Survey

If you were out to dinner and your server had just brought your meal and was explaining things to you (like the differences in the BBQ sauces on your table, etc.) and answering other questions you had and the phone started to ring and your server excused herself to answer the would you feel about that?

Be honest. And ask around! I need as much input on this as I can get. I'll tell you what one server (me) did after I hear from you.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Warning: Lame Post Ahead

Hey everyone!! I'm just checking in to let you know I'm still alive and well. The dinner on Friday night was the most fun I've had in a long time (except for the way fun lunch I had on the previous Tuesday). (Melissa did a great post about it so go here and see her goods. No, not literal goods. Just the post she did. Naughties.) It was so fun to meet new people and to get to know my other friends better. I always have fun with my sisters and that night I got to have TWO of them there! WOOT!!! I'm hoping my niece's ears have stopped melting by now. She was fine with all the "grown-up-married-people" talk until her mom started in. I'm guessing the LAST people she wants to hear anything like that about is her parents...unless it's MY parents.

So last weekend was awesome. I'm working on a post about it for MMB so stay tuned.

I got in trouble at work the other night for the most ridiculous thing ever so I'd love to find a new place to work. Anyone need a live-in waitress???

Summer's half over and I haven't done anything too exciting. Haven't even been to the pool!!! I'm still pasty white. We're going out of town for the 24th of July and that'll be fun. But before that we're going to see Kenny Chesney!!! HOLLA!!! (I like to go to grown-up concerts, Vanessa)

That's it. Lame post. I'll leave a cute picture of Harley for you to make up for the lack of blog fodder! Have a great weekend!!

He LOVES to play in the sand! He's a digger, just like his dad!!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Alright, Peeps. Here's the 411.

OK, I've made a reservation at the Skybox at The Gateway for 7:00 pm. That way the working moms can get home & get their fams situated before they ditch 'em for the rest of the night.
The Skybox is at the very north end of the mall on the upper level. Next to Lane Bryant. Not that any of us has to shop there. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
If you're coming and you haven't told me or DeNae, please do so NOW!!! The room we have isn't huge so I want to be sure we have enough room.
If you need any more deets email me or leave your comment here! See you Friday!!

PS Lori, you wanna ride together? I'm picking Wendy up on the way. Because you're coming, Wendy!!! Oh yes you are!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Meet and Greet!!!

Hey, guess what??? DeNae is coming to town! So in an attempt to reach Kristina P. level coolness, we're having a meet and greet!

It'll be July 10th. It'll be a dinner. It'll be in the Salt Lake area somewhere. Please, please, please come!!!

Either email me or comment here if you can make it.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

It's Always The Last Place You Look

After more than two looooong weeks of getting up off the couch to turn up and down our TV (a task made even more difficult because the knob is behind a glass door which we have to keep barricaded so Harley doesn't get into it), we (I) have found the remote!!!

You're looking at the cupboard which holds our TV on top and in the cabinets is all of Harley's toys. (That would be "Ghostbusters" on the tv and look to the left...that's where the volume is. See the big silver thing in its way? Yeah.) In an act of desperation, I unloaded all the toys out of it and guess what???? It was in there! Seriously, can't begin to describe how good it feels to sit on my bu....couch and turn on and off and up and down the volume. I'm waaaaaaay too skinny for all the exercise I was getting by walking the 12 feet to the stereo.

Thanks for all of your suggestions. I really did check the fridge, the garbage (again), not the spices because I keep them up high, the heat registers, the drawers in the kitchen and bathroom. The town I live in hates the earth so I didn't have a recycle bin to check.

All is right at the Stubbs home again.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Where, Oh Where?

If you were a one-year-old where would you hide the remote?

And don't say couch cushions, we've checked there. Twice.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A List

The other day my visiting teachers came over. The two girls assigned to me are actually friends of mine. One lives across the street and the other is her best friend. They're really fun. I don't ever hang out with them but I talk to my neighbor when we're both outside and she's way good at food storage and having lots of stuff on hand to bake with so she's my go-to guy when it comes to borrowing sugar, flour, eggs, etc.

So let me give you a little history. I'm a cancer survivor, remember? I had Hodgkin's disease when I was 17 and again when I was 19. Well during my first bout with it I had radiation therapy to my throat, neck, part of my mouth, chest and under my arms. Now, several years later, I can't swallow my food worth a damn. It always get stuck in my throat. I'm certain it's scar tissue built up from the radiation. I've had my esophagus stretched twice and it always comes back. This past year I discovered the only thing that helps food go down: pop. Which works out since I'm addicted to Diet Pepsi, anyway. (Yes, DeNae and Sher...PEPSI) So now I have to drink pop with every meal. And lots of it. The only thing I can eat without choking in cereal. And even then, it still has a hard time going down. The worst food is bread and meat. But lately it's been everything. Pasta, rice, lettuce. Pretty much everything. It's hard to suppress 33 years of eating habits. Normally when a person eats their tongue and throat just automatically start to work the food down the throat. Well, I have to focus on keeping it all in my mouth and chew it to oblivion. And to remember to take small bites. Not that I take HUGE bites, but I have to intentionally take small bites. So the first bite I take of any meal is usually too big and I don't usually chew it good enough. This is mostly a nuisance. I do throw up about every single day. Food just gets caught and it won't go down. I'm not really choking, in that I can still breathe and talk. But the food is just sitting there. I start to salivate like you do before you throw up. And I can always tell right away when it's just not gonna happen and I'm gonna have to go put my finger down my throat and get it up. I know. This is way graphic. Sorry.

Well, one time I was eating Cafe Rio (yum!) and I took a bite of chicken (seems to be the WORST thing for me to eat. Which is awesome since I love chicken.) and it got stuck. So I take a drink. Still stuck. Another drink. Even more stuck. So I get up to "fix it" and realize I'm not going to be able to make it to the bathroom and I start heaving into the garbage can. And for the first time ever, I actually choked. Like full-on, not breathing, panicking, sheer terror, choking. Luckily Tavis was there. He didn't actually have to do anything because I eventually worked it out but when it was done I was so scared to think what would have happened if I hadn't worked it out and he hadn't been there?? Ya. So now I'm really nervous to eat when he's not home or when my kids aren't home. At least they can call 911 if they need to.

So if you're ever out to eat with me and it seems like I'm drinking an inordinate amount of Diet Coke (since most places are jerks and don't serve Pepsi), don't judge me. It's because I'm doing my best to get my food to my stomach!

OK, fast forward to my VT's coming over. I had just fixed me a PB & J sandwich for breakfast (shut up). They come in and get settled. I take ONE bite of my sandwich and I realize it's not going down. Drink my Pepsi. Nothing. So I tell them that I have to be right back. I get up and walk the, I don't know, 6 feet toward my front door and realize I'm not gonna make it to the bathroom so I stick my head out the front door and try to "work it out". Well, guess what? Cafe Rio all over again! I started to FULL-ON choke! So there I am choking and gasping for breath and spewing Pepsi all over my porch while my poor friends are in the house not knowing what the hell is going on! This whole episode lasted about 20 seconds, but it seemed like FOREVER. When I stopped choking, I walked back inside and the look on their faces was one of sheer dumbfoundedness. (Is that a word?) So I sat back down and explained to them what just happened and I realized that the bite hadn't gone down (or up) all the way, still. So I took my Pepsi and went to the bathroom and got it all "worked out".

So, on to my list.

How to Look Dumb in Front of Your Visiting Teachers:

1. Throw up on your front porch.

2. Say "ass". A lot. Before you realize you've said it. A lot.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Do You Know What Today Is???


Why are you still here? Get over there and wish her happy birthday!!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Birthday Fun!

Warning: Picture overload ahead. You're welcome.

Last Saturday was Avery's birthday party.

This is the kids in their "crash posistions" on the airplane thingie.

She had a Hawaiian party. This is the first birthday party I've ever given her. Ya, I'm mother of the year like that. So I send out like almost 20 invitations. One for each of the girls in her class as well as a few others. I put at the bottom where it says RSVP to call or text. Which should mean that I really do wanna know who's coming and who's not, right? Or not. I only got about 5 RSVP's so I was nervous that she wouldn't have a good turnout. Plus that the freaking WAD I spent would go to waste. But as luck would have it, 9 girls showed up. So including her there were 10 girls and Hayden. That was perfect. They did potato sack races. (Actually, I use the term "race" very loosely here. There was no finish line. No prize. Just who could get to the sand box and back the fastest.) Kids are so dang awesome! They had such a good time doing that "race". After a couple there-and-backs they split up and did a few races with just a couple kids. "Race" around the trampolie, etc. They just made up their own rules and had so much fun! Good kids. Notice Hayden on the left side of the picture. It's hard to tell the difference between this picture of him and the next one of him. He's so dang funny.

Then I had bought a thing that you put your face in and took their pictures. (Crap, that reminds me I need to get those printed and send them to the kids!) Scott and Tavis and Hayden and kind of Harley got their pictures taken, too. Way fun.

Then we did cupcakes. Every Wednesday after work the girls I work with and I go to Chili's for chips and salsa. Our waitress, Alisha, does professional cupcakes so I had her make Avery some and put them in the shape of an 8. They were chocolate with peanut butter cream filling. YUMMMMY!!! She put crushed graham crackers down to look like sand and added sea shells and umbrella. I put the flowers on them to make 'em look like a lei. She said she could do that, too, but I had already bought the lei and just cut it up and stuck them on. It was so freakin' cute! Seriously, if you have any event that you want DELICIOUS cupcakes for, go visit her! She's darling and so accommodating and makes a bad-A cupcake!

Then we did presents. She got a lot of really great stuff! He friends (parents) totally hooked her up! By this time it was 11:50. Really? I have to entertain these kids for another 40 mins??? But Tavis said they'd be fine to just play in the sand box and the creek and he was right! Those kids had so much fun! She's got some really fun, cute friends. And the best part was we found out one them lives by us! See, we don't really go to church very often. And my kids never go to church with me because they go to their dad's every weekend and they go to church with him. So we really don't know what kids live by us that they go to school with. Plus, we live at the very tip corner of our ward so it's likely that the kids that live right by us don't go to our church, anyway.

So finally at freakin' 12:50 (the party was supposed to go from 11-12:30) the last kid's mom picked her up. OK, that's a funny story. This little cutie shows up in a sarong and has dark skin and dark hair. She looks Hawaiian or Polynesian at least. So my ex, Scott, says to her, "are you Hawaiian?" She says, "no, it's a sarong." Oh. OK. So he says, "no, are you Hawaiian?" "No. It's a sarong." I'm laughing under my breath.

So this little cutie is the last to have her mom come which gave me time to talk to her. Scott was taking the kids home with him for the rest of the weekend so he was waiting with me. (Tavis was inside feeding Harley lunch.) My kids and their cousin were piled in his car, just waiting for this girl's mom to come. Anyway, we're all kinda hanging out on the driveway. So I ask her, "where do you get your beautiful brown skin and dark hair? What's your last name?" She tells me a perfectly NON-Polynesian name. So I say, "where's your mom from?" She says, "um....California."

Huh. "Where's your dad from?"

"California, too."

Clearly, I'm not going to get it out of this kid where she's from. And it didn't matter, obviously. We were just curious. She really is SUCH a cute girl! And her name's not bad, either. It's Amber. So I just finally say, "well you've got beautiful skin and your hair is so cute!"

"Well, I'm part Indian so that's why."

AND THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREEEEE!!!! (I wasn't about to go into "feather" or "dot".)

Anyway, her mom finally got there and cute little part-Indian Amber left.

Then I went to work that night and guess who came to see me??? VANESSA!!! It was Dillon's birthday and he and I bonded at lunch a few weeks ago and he CHOSE to go to Rib City just to see me. How freakin' cool is that?? I love that kid! He's adorable!!!

So it was a great day. The weather was perfect but for a little wind. Avery had a ton of fun. I had a ton of fun watching her have fun. And then I got to see Vanessa and her darling family.


So I'm probably going to be doing some posting over at Rib City Grill's blog. My boss is under the impression I actually know what the hell I'm doing when it comes to blogging. She obviously hasn't spent much time over here. Go visit if you get the chance!

Monday, June 8, 2009

And a Hush Falls Over the Crowd

Welcome to the next stop on the "Solitude" blog tour! It's good to have you here!

Let me tell you a story.

My baby doesn't sleep through the night very often anymore. I'll go into details in a later post. But know this: we're all a little sleep deprived, lately. The first week of summer was kind of hard on me. I've been stressed to the max with Tav's job and Harley not sleeping and the kids being home all day. It's kinda wiggin' me out.

So last week, true to form, Hayden and Avery were sniping at each other. We were getting in the car to go shopping and the bickering was about who got the front seat or something equally as important. ("You had it last time!" "No you did!" "I get it on the way home!") So I went to check the mail and guess what??? Sher's CD was in there! YAY!!!!

After clearing it with Avery that I wasn't ejecting the Hannah Montana sound track, I put in the CD. I turned it right to track 6 because I knew they'd recognize it. As soon as "I Am a Child of God" started the bickering stopped. They listened. They hummed along. They asked who it was and I told them it was my friend. Avery said, "she's incredible." (She can't say her "r's" so she actually said, "she's incwedible".) She looked over the back of the CD cover and asked Hayden if they knew a couple of the other songs. We listened to it the whole way to the store and not one time did they snipe at each other. It was so calming.

Then, tonight I was going to work. I was a little apprehensive about tonight's shift for some reason. I knew Owner was the manager on duty and I was still a little sore about my bad night (which I took down because it was done and over with and I didn't want it there anymore) and the fact that I never got an apology from her. Anyway, I got to work about ten minutes early. So I started Sher's CD again. And again the calming feeling came over me. And I had a pretty good night.

I am AMAZED at how talented this girl is. I have such respect for people (like DeNae) who can hear in their minds how they want a song to sound and then have the ability to put in down on paper and make it sound really good! That they know that this instrument will sound with that one and that it will sound good and they're right!

Sherrie Shepherd is truly, truly gifted. Her album "Solitude" A Collection of Inspirational Piano Solos really is "incwedible".

(And for my non-LDS friends, let me just tell you that it's not all LDS music. Promise.)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

This Is Where I Live

Just up the street from me, perhaps a block, is this. I know I cuss Utah. I'll always hate the winters here. They'll always last too long. But when spring and summer finally arrive, all those 12 million inches of snow are just a distant bad memory. And this takes their place. And this is where I live. How lucky am I?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Happy Birthday, Avery!!!!!

(I did two posts in a row today. No, it's not Christmas. Feels like it, though, huh?)

Today my baby girl turns 8. She's such a sweet girl. Seriously, she's my saving grace. Every mom needs a daughter. I couldn't have asked for a better one than her. These pictures are of her at her dance concert last week. Isn't she beautiful???
She's so funny. She's got the best sence of humor. She's clever and witty and fast with her comebacks. Makes her mama proud! And best of all? She looks just like me!!!

I love you, Avery! You're the best daughter EVER!!!

Monday, June 1, 2009


Oh. My. Gosh.

Let me just tell you about my night at work tonight. (No, this isn't my "terrible night" story.) One of the servers I work with told me I had a table of two. That's all she said. So I go walking up to my table (first table of the night), and facing me was......JERRY SLOAN!!!!! That's right. The winningest coach in NBA history with a single team. The longest tenured coach with a single franchise of all major professional sports. There are only two other coaches in NBA history to have 10 straight winning seasons: Pat Riley and Red Auerbach. Not to mention all his wins with the Chicago Bulls. Which reminds me...he's TALL!! I know he played in the NBA and obviously you gotta be tall, but I was surprised at how tall he is! Like 6'5".

I walked up to him and his wife and said, "Oh my gosh. Wow."
He said, "I gotta eat my ribs with two hands just like everyone else."
Me: "I can't believe you're at my table. My name is Amber."
Sloan: "This is my wife, Tammy."
Me: "Nice to meet you. Oh my goodness. My heart is beating a mile a minute, now."

So they order their drinks (him a raspberry lemonade and water and her iced tea) and each got a full rack of baby back ribs. He got a baked potato with butter only and baked beans. She got a baked potato and cole slaw.

So I go to the back and called Tavis and told him to get down there! Which, of course, he didn't. I also asked the girl that seated him if she knew who he was. She didn't realize it was him. DUH!!!

I took them their drinks and said, "I would just like to say that I have so much respect for you. You're amazing. I don't want to bug you but I just want to tell you that I think you're incredible."

Him: "Thank you."

So I send out a mass text: Guess who's at my table tonight??? JERRY SLOAN!!! Eeeeeeeek!

Here's the replies I got:

Niki: Are you kidding me? How many peeps are with him? He better tip you good!
Jill: Holy!!! Eek is right!! Good luck! Let me know how much he tips you!
Jason: Show him your boobs.
Kim: AWESOME! Treat him like gold. You know, Jazz him up!
Mom: Wow treat him well.
Dad: John Deere. Tractors and stuff. Ask Tavis. He restores John Deere tractors on his farm. (OHHHH!!! Gotcha. Ya, I was confused.)
Alison: Hopefully you get a big tip. That's awesome but kinda scary. Don't spill anything on him. (Thanks, Ali.)
DeNae: How very cool! Get an autograph! (I didn't dare to ask him.)
Vanessa: Awesome! Did he tip good? Was his new wife with him? Did you ask him how come Andre Kirilinko is such a sissy? (Me: BAAAAA!!! I forgot to ask him that.)

So I deliver their meals perfectly. Refilled their drinks right on time. Basically, I nailed it! He had a crutch with him and his leg was extended out from under the table so I asked him, "are you laid up? What happened?"
Wife: "Apparently you don't read the paper?"
Me: (Crap) "No, sorry."
He told me he'd had knee replacement surgery. I asked how he was doing because my (ex) mother in law had her knees done and one was great and the other was not so great. He said at first there were some complications and they had to go back in a week later but that was 5 weeks ago and he was doing a lot better.

The owner came in and sat down and talked to them for a few minutes. His wife ordered dessert and as I was setting it down the owner was saying how good I was. And that I was one of the good ones. (Which when I tell you my "terrible night" story, you'll wonder if it's the same person.)

Apparently, the last time he came in he wasn't very nice. He actually told people no when they asked for an autograph and only tipped like $5. It was during the season so maybe that's why. Anyway, when he left he called my boss and told her that he was really impressed with me. And that he really liked me. Plus, they tipped me $12 on a $56 ticket. Yeee-Haaaw! And as he was leaving he posed for a picture with a little boy. I thought that was really cool.

It was seriously so amazing. I'm a HUGE Jazz fan. HUGE!!! It was such an honor to meet him. Better than when my boss's brother, Vincent D'Onofrio, came in. (Sorry, DeNae. I know you love him, but Sloan meant more to me.)

So there's my incredible story. I ended up making $50 tonight. Not bad for a Monday!!!

Friday, May 29, 2009


OK, so now that all the hoop-la of the giveaway is over, let's get on with some good posting! First, DeNae, in answer to your question: Yes. The computer is basically fixed. It doesn't hold a charge for more than a couple hours but for the most part it's fixed. And I hope you like this background better. See how compliant I am?

Then, remember my friend Courtney? No? Oh, that's because no one was reading my blog back then. Well, go here and you can read about her a little at the bottom of the post. Or you can go here and read all about her battle and victory over leukemia. She and I met when I was living in Tooele with my first husband. I was 8 months pregnant with Avery when we moved to a townhouse and right next to us was Courtney and her husband, Todd. She has a daughter that's 6 months younger than Hayden and was 3 months pregnant with her second daughter. We hit it off immediately. We had so much fun together that summer. We lived next to each other for about a year then I moved to an apartment just a couple minutes away so we still stayed close.

One day when our baby girls were still really little she and I were hanging out at my apartment. Hayden and her daughter were playing in one of the bedrooms. I had just moved in so I still had a few boxes that weren't unpacked yet. One of those boxes had all the computer stuff in it. So Courtney and I were yackin' in the living room and our kids come in. Hayden holding scissors and her daughter holding locks of her hair. Yep. Hayden cut her daughter's pony-tails off! Courtney was such a good sport about it. She just laughed about it. I seriously would have CRIED!! (Which I did a year later when Hayden cut Avery's pony-tails off.) So we put that fire out and go back to our yackin'. A while later, Hayden comes out with a blue face, blue hair, blue tummy, blue hands. What the HELL??? Daughter comes out holding an ink cartridge for the printer. She had dumped it all over Hayden and my bed and carpet. So we got the kids in the tub and the water immediately turned blue. He was stained blue for a few days to follow.

But that's how it was with Courtney and me. Whenever we got together we just lost ourselves in conversation and enjoying each other's company. Not long after that she moved back to Texas where she and Todd are from. We stayed in contact for about 6 months but after that kind of lost track of each other.

A year ago last December I got a call from Todd. The first thing out of his mouth was, "Courtney....( heart dropped to the floor, I literally felt the blood drain from my head and I was CERTAIN his next word were going to be "died") has cancer." She'd been diagnosed with leukemia in September and went from "not feeling very good" straight to the ER and then admitted to the hospital for several weeks. She had four little kids at home and didn't even get a chance to explain to them what was happening to their mamma. Todd told me she didn't know he had found me. She had been telling him for some time and especially that night that she just wanted to talk to me. She was upset and just wanted to find me. Being a cancer survivor myself, she knew I'd be able to relate to her. She knew she'd be able to vent all her frustrations and "why me?" to me and I'd know exactly what she was talking about. We cried and talked and cried. She was days away from being admitted to the hospital again for a bone marrow transplant. She was so blessed to have found a match in her sister. I was so close to needing a bone marrow transplant when I had cancer and I was told that they'd bring me right to the verge of death. (As Courtney describes it, "they dangle you on a string, hovering over death) They give you a "mega-dose" of chemotherapy, killing all of your white blood cells and then inject you with the new bone marrow and begin rebuilding your immune system. I was so scared for her. Tavis told me that night that I had to go see her. The next day I booked my flight for Dallas and within a couple of weeks I was there at her bedside. She was 4 days post-transplant. She's 5' 2" and she weighed 90 pounds. She was tiny. She was bald. She was so sick. But she was still my best friend from several years before. We picked up right where we left off. I stayed with her in her room for the whole weekend. We talked and cried and cried and talked. I remember leaving her on Sunday and not wanting to let go of her. She was so small but I just wanted to keep squeezing her. I honestly didn't know if I'd see her alive again. It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. To let go of her. But I did. I went home and prayed and worried about her every day. And then a year later, this post. The best news ever.

This past Sunday I got a text from her.

It said: Guess what?
Me: What???
Courtney: I'm...
Me: Stop it!!! WHAT?????
Courtney: Coming to UTAH!

She got here on Thursday. Her husband had work to do in Logan so I got to take her home with me while he went up there. We went to lunch and got to visit and catch up. She spent the night with me. Every time we get together it's like we've never missed a beat. But now our conversations revolve around topics like medication, and the constant pain she's in. Why she can't go in the sun or eat too spicy of food because it literally burns her. Quickly. Of course we also talk about kids and husbands and housewife life, too. Today when I left her she cried. I felt kind of bad for not being more emotional about leaving her. But there was such a huge contrast from the last time I left her. This time I KNOW I'll see her again. I know she's healthy now and she'll continue to heal. Of course after I drove away the tears came. But they were nothing like the tears I shed almost a year and a half ago.

I was going to post about the horrible night I had at work but I think for now I'll just leave it positive and upbeat and all about Courtney. If you've got time you really should browse through her blog.

I'm so grateful to have a friend like her and that I was able to spend a couple of precious days with her.